Sabbat - History Of A Time To Come
Noise Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (46:27)
Release year: 1988
Sabbat, Noise Records
Reviewed by Goat

Frequent readers of the site will know of my general apathy towards Thrash Metal. I believe strongly that the best of the genre was released at its birth, and since then we seem to have had nothing but wave after wave of bands ripping the originators off. Yet every so often I’ll look back in time and reacquaint myself with an album from an era when the music genuinely was fresh and unique, the likes of Celtic Frost, Slayer, and Discharge all producing albums that shape much of today’s Metal. Although Sabbat might not be amongst the originators of the genre, they certainly knew how to Thrash, but it wasn’t love at first sight between Sabbat and I, I’ll admit it. Whilst my earliest encounter with Martin Walkyier’s Folk Metal horde Skyclad went down a treat, the considerably rawer sound of his earlier Thrash unit took time to seduce my ears. Without a doubt however, it’s worth the time taken. Once you begin to fathom the intelligence, catchiness and sheer Thrash Metal madness of History Of A Time To Come, it’s an album that will rarely leave the playlist, a classic of the genre as well as a landmark release of British Metal.

People tend to treat the UK as some long-forgotten land of legend, in Metal terms especially. Although we kicked it all off with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and so on, there’s been a generally accepted idea that later Metal bands, especially in the Thrash realm, have been thin on the ground. Well, Sabbat are our strongest Thrashers, as short-lived as they were, but few mention Acid Reign, Onslaught, D.A.M, Ignorance, heck, even Lawnmower Deth barely get remembered – fine, compared to Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and Testament they may be second-rate, but even so, Britain is fast becoming a hotbed of Metal activity, and Sabbat’s reformation in 2006 for live dates is the culmination – the masters returning to show the new kids on the block like Evile just how it’s done.

Make no mistake, Sabbat do it damn well. The suitably-titled Intro, an ominous bell tolling as muttering voices swirl around you, sets the scene for the pulverising assault of A Cautionary Tale, and from then on there’s not a drop in quality until the end of the album. Andy Sneap provides killer riff after killer riff as well as some surprisingly complex melodies whilst Martin Walkyier’s growling yelp spits out his typically intelligent lyrics, all of which make great songs even better: the Faustus legend’s retelling on A Cautionary Tale, Satanic hymn Hosanna In Excelsis (from which comes possibly the best Thrash shout-along chorus of all time: ‘Hark! The fallen angels sing – Glory to Satan our King!’) anti-Nazi anthem Behind The Crooked Cross, and personal favourite Horned Is The Hunter, a paean to the nature god Pan. There really isn’t a weak moment on the album – even instrumental A Dead Man’s Robe is killer, and closing track The Church Bizarre rides it out on a wave of intelligent Christian-mockery, almost unheard of in 80s Metal.

This is a darn sight heavier than your average Thrash band from the time, but Sabbat are a band that cannot be missed by anyone interested in quality offerings from the genre, and their second album Dreamweaver is even better. History Of A Time To Come itself, however, sums up the state of Thrash perfectly, the historical releases being the standouts of a genre where ‘tributes’ to older bands are de facto and originality got lost years ago. The reissue sounds great and has five bonus live tracks – what are you waiting for? Although I’ll doubtless face angry forumites for saying this, History Of A Time To Come is one of the best Thrash albums ever released, and is a vital part of any Metalhead’s collection.

Killing Songs :
All! A perfect album
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Sabbat that we have reviewed:
Sabbat - Dreamweaver (Reflections Of Our Yesterdays) reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
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